Israeli warplanes once again launch attacks on Gaza Strip

Palestinians walk past the site of an Israeli airstrike targeting in Khan Yunis town in the southern Gaza Strip in December 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinians walk past the site of an Israeli airstrike targeting in Khan Yunis town in the southern Gaza Strip in December 13, 2017

Israeli fighter planes have carried out an attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, targeting positions belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.  

The Israel military confirmed the Saturday night attack, claiming it was in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Friday.

There are have been no reports of casualties from either sides of the incidents.

The airstrikes come amid rising tensions in the occupied territories over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel despite widespread international opposition to the measure.

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Trump has also said Washington would relocate the US embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which remains at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Under the Israeli blockade, about 1.8 million people in Gaza are deprived of their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

The Tel Aviv regime has also waged several wars on Gaza since 2008 in which thousands of Gazans have been killed or maimed and a significant portion of infrastructure in the enclave has been destroyed.

(Source / 31.12.2017)

New expansion project in Brukhin settlement in Salfit

Expansion project Bruqin

Eyewitnesses from Bruqin town, west of Salfit city, on Saturday reported that new housing units and infrastructure are being built for the Israeli settlement of Brukhin in the northern area of the town.

They told the PIC reporter that Brukhin is expanding at the expense of the Palestinian farmers’ lands from which they are constantly expelled by the settlement’s guards.

Palestinian researcher Khalid Ma’ali said that Israel’s settlement expansion projects are in full swing in the villages and towns of Salfit province, adding that there are 25 Israeli settlements stretching over lands belonging to 18 Palestinian residential communities in Salfit.

Ma’ali pointed out that Brukhin was established in 1999 as a small outpost before the head of central command at the Israeli occupation army, Nitzan Alon, signed an order to turn it into an “official settlement” administered by the Regional Settlement Council.

(Source / 30.12.2017)

IOF storms towns in Jenin, kidnaps Palestinian

Ya'bad and Kufeirit

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Saturday stormed the towns of Ya’bad and Kufeirit in Jenin province, north of the West Bank, and kidnapped a Palestinian citizen from his home.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that sounds of explosions were heard last night near the checkpoint leading to the illegal settlement of Dutan and at the entrance to Ya’bad town, without knowing their causes.

Immediately following the explosions, military reinforcements were dispatched to the area before Israeli soldiers stormed Ya’bad town and closed its entrances with barriers, according to the sources.

Soldiers also raided the house of a young man called Mohamed al-Taher, rounded him up and took him away aboard a military vehicle.

Meanwhile, an Israeli military force stormed Kufeirit town and patrolled its streets overnight.

The IOF also set up a makeshift checkpoint on Jenin-Haifa road, west of Jenin, stopped passing vehicles and checked the IDs of passengers.

(Source / 30.12.2017)

IOF erects barrier, arrests Palestinian youth in al-Khalil

Barrier al-Khalil

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) erected a military barrier at a junction near Etzion settlement near al-Khalil city. IOF soldiers arrested a Palestinian youth after tightening security measures at the checkpoint.

The PIC reporter revealed that an Israeli force of  border guards blocked Palestinian traffic at the barrier which was set up at the entrance to Beit Fujjar town near al-Khalil.

He added that the detained man was identified as Ali Deiriya, 21, from the town. IOF soldiers removed the checkpoint after arresting him, he pointed out.

(Source / 30.12.2017)

Palestinian factions call for popular escalation against IOF

Call for popular escalation

Palestinian factions in Ramallah and al-Bireh governorate on Saturday called for escalating popular resistance against Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and settlers.

In a statement, the factions asked Palestinians in Ramallah and al-Bireh to participate in a protest sit-in before the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in al-Bireh at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The event aims at protesting the IOF targeting of Palestinian children and refusing the arrogance and oppression of MK Oren Hazan who verbally attacked families of prisoners a few days ago. The factions are going to hand a letter to the ICRC in which they demand that the international organization bear the responsibility for protecting prisoners’ families.

The factions also urged Palestinians to take part in a march that will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday to mark Fatah Movement’s anniversary.

The statement announced a sit-in to be staged before the UN headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday. It aims at expressing gratitude to all those people all over the world who supported and advocated the rights of the Palestinian people and refused the US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem.

Next Friday was also declared as a day of field escalation across the governorate and the West Bank where a massive march is slated to be held in Ramallah at Beit El barrier.

(Source / 30.12.2017)

31 Injuries reported in clashes in Occupied Jerusalem

Clashes Al Quds

31 Palestinians were injured by Israeli gunfire and tear gas grenades in clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in Abu Deis town in Occupied Jerusalem on Saturday.

Palestinian Red Crescent Society revealed that 7 Jerusalemites were wounded by rubber bullets and 23 others suffered breathing problems due to Israeli tear gas canisters which were intensively fired at protesters in the town.

The society also highlighted that Israeli forces targeted a Palestinian ambulance by gunfire.

In a similar context, a local source disclosed that a Palestinian youth was shot by Israeli live bullets during clashes that broke out in al-Ezeriya town near the occupied city.

Some 16 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and over 4000 others were injured in violent clashes that have been taking place in Occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip in protest at the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the US embassy to the holy city.

(Source / 30.12.2017)

Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

Palestinian activist Ahed with her mother Nariman [Al Jazeera]

Palestinian activist Ahed with her mother Nariman

Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was recently arrested in a night-time raid on her home. The Israeli authorities accuse her of “assaulting” an Israeli soldier and an officer. A day earlier she had confronted Israeli soldiers who had entered her family’s backyard. The incident happened shortly after a soldier shot her 14-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, and fired tear-gascanisters directly at their home, breaking windows.

Her mother and cousin were arrested later as well. All three remain in detention.

There has been a curious lack of support for Ahed from Western feminist groups, human rights advocates and state officials who otherwise present themselves as the purveyors of human rights and champions of girls’ empowerment.

Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices.

Their campaigns on empowering girls in the global South are innumerable: Girl Up, Girl Rising, G(irls)20 Summit, Because I am a Girl, Let Girls Learn, Girl Declaration.

When 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the reaction was starkly different. Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, issued a petition entitled “I am Malala.” The UNESCO launched “Stand Up For Malala.”

Malala was invited to meet then President Barack Obama, as well as the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and addressed the UN General Assembly. She received numerous accolades from being named one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine and Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine to being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, and again in 2014 when she won.

State representatives such as Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard as well as prominent journalists such as Nicholas Kristof spoke up in support of her. There is even a Malala Day!

But we see no #IamAhed or #StandUpForAhed campaigns making headlines. None of the usual feminist and rights groups or political figures has issued statements supporting her or reprimanding the Israeli state. No one has declared an Ahed Day. In fact, the US in the past has even denied her a visa for a speaking tour.

Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices. She has been protesting the theft of land and water by Israeli settlers. She has endured personal sacrifice, having lost an uncle and a cousin to the occupation. Her parents and brother have been arrested time and again. Her mother has been shot in the leg. Two years ago, another video featuring her went viral – this time she was trying to protect her little brother from being taken by a soldier.

Why isn’t Ahed a beneficiary of the same international outcry as Malala? Why has the reaction to Ahed been so different?

OPINION

‘Children of the stones’: the day Palestine was reborn

Ramzy Baroud
by Ramzy Baroud

There are multiple reasons for this deafening silence. First among them is the widespread acceptance of state-sanctioned violence as legitimate. Whereas hostile actions of non-state actors such as the Taliban or Boko Haram fighters are viewed as unlawful, similar aggression by the state is often deemed appropriate.

This not only includes overt forms of violence such as drone attacks, unlawful arrests, and police brutality, but also less obvious assaults such as the allocation of resources, including land and water. The state justifies these actions by presenting the victims of its injustices as a threat to the functioning of the state.

Once declared a threat, the individual is easily reduced to bare life – a life without political value. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has described this as a time/place sanctioned by sovereign power where laws can be suspended; this individual can therefore now be made a target of sovereign violence. Terrorists often fall within this category. Thus, the execution of suspected terrorists through drone attacks without due judicial process ensues without much public uproar.

11-year-old Ahed cries during the funeral of her relative Rushdi Tamimi, who was shot by Israeli forces during a protest in November 2012

The Israeli police have deployed a similar strategy here. They have argued for extendingAhed’s detention because she “poses a danger” to soldiers (state representatives) and could obstruct the functioning of the state (the investigation).

Casting unarmed Palestinians like Ahed – who was simply exercising her right to protect her family’s wellbeing with all the might of her 16-year-old hand – in the same light as a terrorist is unfathomable. Such framings open the way for authorising excessive torture – Israel’s education minister Naftali Bennett, for instance, wants Ahed and her family to “finish their lives in prison.”

Ahed’s suffering also exposes the West’s selective humanitarianism, whereby only particular bodies and causes are deemed worthy of intervention.

Anthropologist Miriam Ticktin argues that while the language of morality to alleviate bodily suffering has become dominant in humanitarian agencies today, only particular kinds of suffering bodies are read as worthy of this care.This includes the exceptionally violated female body and the pathologically diseased body.

Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi stands inside a waiting cell ahead of the verdict in his trial at Israel’s Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 20, 2012

Such a notion of suffering normalises labouring and exploited bodies: “these are not the exception, but the rule, and hence are disqualified.”

Issues of unemployment, hunger, threat of violence, police brutality, and denigration of cultures are thus often not considered deserving of humanitarian intervention. Such forms of suffering are seen as necessary and even inevitable. Ahed, therefore, does not fit the ideal victim-subject for transnational advocacy.

Relatedly, girls like Ahed who critique settler colonialism and articulate visions of communal care are not the empowered femininity that the West wants to valourise. She seeks justice against oppression, rather than empowerment that benefits only herself.

Her feminism is political, rather than one centred on commodities and sex. Her girl power threatens to reveal the ugly face of settler-colonialism, and hence is marked as “dangerous”. Her courage and fearlessness vividly render all that is wrong with this occupation.

Ahed’s plight should prompt us to interrogate our selective humanitarianism. Individuals who are victims of state violence, whose activism unveils the viciousness of power, or whose rights advocacy centres communal care, deserve to be included in our vision of justice.

Even if we don’t launch campaigns for Ahed, it is impossible for us to escape her call to witness the mass debilitation, displacement and dispossession of her people. As Nelson Mandela said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

(Source / 30.12.2017)

Israel to charge iconic Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi

Last week, a prominent Israeli journalist called for raping her. Israeli defence minister said she should spend all her life in prison

The iconic 16-year old Palestinian teen Ahed al-Tamimi, who has fearlessly stood up to Israeli military occupation numerous times, is facing charges at an Israeli military court.

At a hearing held on Thursday the Israeli Ofer Prison, Israeli prosecutors announced their decision to indict the young “heroine” on charges that include aggravated assault and insulting a soldier.

Israeli soldiers raided Tamimi’s home and abducted her away on 18 December, one days after a video of her standing up to an Israeli soldier was posted on the internet and had gone viral.

In the video, the teenager is seen shouting at the soldiers to leave in front of her family’s home in Nabi Saleh, a village in the occupied West Bank.

Shortly after she was abducted, her father Bassem al-Tamimi confirmed the news on Facebook. Her mother went in morning to the Israeli prison to ask about her, but she has not returned home yet.

Tamimi, along with her cousin Nour and her mother Nariman, remain abducted despite international calls for her release. In fact, her abduction will be extended for several days as prosecutors prepare the charges.

In 2015, she earned the admiration of Palestine solidarity activists worldwide after photos and videos circulated of the then-14-year-old – along with her female cousin, her aunt and her mother – fighting an Israeli occupation soldier who was pinning down her 12-year old male brother.

Ahed was seen in the picture biting the soldier’s hand after he smacked her in the face. It was clear that the Israeli soldier was trying to abduct her brother who was in cast.

The Tamimi family are popular advocates for the Palestinian cause in the village, which is the site of weekly protests against the Israeli occupation.

The hashtag  #FreeAhedTamimi  began trending on Twitter. Memes calling for her release in English and Arabic have been shared across social media.

(Source / 30.12.2017)

Israel settlers raid Nablus-area school

Settlers storm a school in the occupied West Bank on 28 December 2017 breaking car and classroom windows and injuring students

Two Palestinian students were injured yesterday after more than 20 armed Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian school in southern Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank yesterday.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the ultra-right wing Yitzhar settlement raided the school in the Burin village under the protection of Israeli occupation forces as students were taking their final exams.

Daghlas said protests erupted in the village as a result, with Israeli forces shooting live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades in to the school grounds, causing more than 20 students to suffer from severe tear-gas inhalation, and injuring two with rubber-coated bullets.

Several students were transferred to hospital for treatment. Israeli settlers also damaged two vehicles and the windows of several rooms.

Read: Doctors urge mental health group not to meet in Israel

(Source / 29.12.2017)

Yousef: The world is hurting itself by ignoring the disaster in Gaza

Palestinian children can be seen doing their homework in their makeshift home in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Gaza

Head of the Popular International Committee to Support, Dr Essam Yousef, urged the UN to carrying out its duty of putting an end to the suffering of over two million people in Gaza on the ninth anniversary of the Israeli war “Operation Cast Lead” and the passing of over ten years since the unjust blockade was imposed on the Strip.

In a press release issued, Yousef said the international community is hurting itself and its reputation by continuing to turn a blind eye and ignoring the blockade imposed on Gaza and the resulting humanitarian disaster. This is especially true because one of its main duties are to preserve world peace and implement international laws, conventions and charters, especially those related to humanitarian issues.

He called on the international community to pressure the Israeli government to lift the blockade on Gaza and put an end to the suffering it has caused in various aspects of life, including the health, education and social sectors.

The successive Israeli wars and attacks on Gaza, which coincide with the crippling illegal and inhumane blockade over the past years, have resulted in a true humanitarian crisis in every sense of the word.

Yousef stated that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has manifested itself in various forms, including the issues faced by the health sector, as a result of a shortage in medication and medical supplies and equipment. Employees have also stopped coming to work since they have not been paid for a long time, and this has led to the health sector being unable to provide its services in a proper manner.

Read: Palestinians locked in as Israel closes Gaza crossings

Palestinian factions must make ending the suffering of the Gazans a priority, he added, along with the other challenges they are facing as a result of the developments in the political arena regarding Jerusalem after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Holy City as Israel’s capital.

He also called on the Palestinian factions to quickly complete the pending national reconciliation and to announce the final agreement in order to end the division. The most important result of this agreement would be opening the doors to the Gazans allowing them to move freely to and from the Gaza Strip, to receive all the basic needs for life, and get the economy moving.

Yousef also requested that Egypt open the Rafah crossing permanently, making Cairo the initiator and pioneer in ending the blockade imposed on Gaza.

(Source / 29.12.2017)